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After four years as manager of the Oamaru Farmers’ Market, Lucianne White is embracing a new challenge.

She recently stepped down from her position to take on the role of events co-ordinator at Tourism Waitaki, but will remain on the farmers’ market committee.

Mrs White has had a long association with the farmers’ market, stretching back to before it was opened in September 2011.

She worked for the Waitaki District Council with the steering committee that had been established to get it up and running, helping it out with food legislation and licensing.

Little did she realise, only a short time later, she would be running the show.

The farmers’ market, which operates out of the old rail goods yard next to Scotts Brewing Co every Sunday, has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Mrs White said that was a result of hard work and community spirit.

“Over the last few years, we’ve looked really hard at what our strengths are and then run with that.

“The market’s biggest asset is its people. We get repeat customers because they enjoy the vendors and the social aspect of Sunday mornings at the market, as well as a good array of products. We’ve also got a really tight-knit vendor community.

“New vendors always comment on how much they enjoy our market.”

She will take away many fond memories from her time managing the market, and enjoyed one aspect in particular.

“The people – we’re one big happy family. I know all our vendors and committee members really well and we’re all very passionate about our great wee market.”

Mrs White believed she had achieved much during her tenure, including changing the opinions of those who believed the farmers’ market was destined to fail.

“Winning over the hearts of our locals – we’ve got a good portion of regular customers that love this market as much as our market family does.

“Also, creating a structure that gets other community groups, schools and the wider community involved through things like the community stall, spud in a bag competition and the twilight market. Each year, these aspects get better and better.”

She said the future of the farmers’ market looked bright and was confident it would remain a fixture on Oamaru’s social calendar for years to come.

“Markets are more than food for your tum – they’re food for your soul. They help meet the social, cultural and support needs for so many diverse sectors of our community. They promote social inclusion, they give a platform for not-for-profit groups to fundraise and also raise awareness of their good work [and] they educate about and promote sustainability.”

She has settled well into her new role at Tourism Waitaki and plans to make the best of it.

“It’s busy, it’s creative – the people I’m working with are great. I’ve swapped one close-knit professional family for another.

“I love working with and for my community. I like to put a lot of thought into the psychology of events and community involvement in them.

“It comes down to people and understanding them, creating great working relationships with all involved and pulling together a space and an experience that won’t be forgotten quickly.”